Oliver is…

He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man

…reading the Times for free

The Times recently started charging for their site and while I can understand why they would do this, it does seem to fly in the face of pretty much every other newspaper’s site being free. It seems weird then that they would leave such an easy way to get round the paywall .

After playing a game of ‘spot me in the Ashes crowd’ on Facebook, my old flatmate mentioned that he’d seen me in the Times. Great, I thought, but the only problem was that by the time I’d received his message it would be too late to let my mum know and because I knew about the subscription issue I thought I wouldn’t be able to see it. There is an option to get a £1 trial, but I’m always wary of signing up to things like that because they inevitably lead to a full paying membership and either I’ll forget about it for ages or I’m worried that they’ll make it really hard for me to cancel.

After a quick search, I found this site that lists a few ways to get on for free.

What I found was that if you tried to go to the cricket page through the navigation, it took you to a tollbooth here:

http://www.timesplus.co.uk/tto/news/?login=false&url=http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/sport/cricket/

But if you just took away everything before the second http and changed ‘sport’ to ‘public’ you could see it all.

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/public/cricket/

I thought that might be the extent of my luck and when I clicked on a story I got the same tollbooth appearing.

http://www.timesplus.co.uk/tto/news/?login=false&url=http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/sport/cricket/article2826640.ece

Again, the same thing worked and I was able to see the full story. I’m in photo 19.

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/public/cricket/article2826640.ece

I’ve had a play around and it doesn’t seem to work on every section, but it does work well with the sports side of things and considering how well thought of the Times’ sportswriters are, it’s amazing that they’d let such a presumably popular part of their site be so easy to see for free. Not that I’m in anyway encouraging this sort of behaviour, it’s just interesting to note.

It’s quite nice too that the site doesn’t have any ads, but they do promote their own products in a similarly annoying way. If they took those out it would almost be worth paying for.

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Filed under: writing, ,

One Response

  1. Dave w says:

    Nice loophole! It’s like when I used to illegally download files when I worked at some office through crafty customised Google searches.

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